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Miesha Tate: ‘Thank god’ Amanda Nunes retired — ‘There’s no way any of us were beating her’

Amanda Nunes’ legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) career has officially come to an end.

UFC 289 this past month (June 10, 2023) saw the end of an era as the reigning UFC Bantamweight and Featherweight queenpin, Nunes, retired following her dominant unanimous decision win against Irene Aldana. From 2015 to 2023, Nunes only lost once, which came opposite Julianna Pena in Dec. 2021. “The Lionness” avenged the loss in their immediate rematch in Aug. 2022, sweeping “The Venezuelan Vixen” on the judges’ scorecards as she did Aldana in the fight after.

At 35 and holding a 23-5 record, Nunes’ time on top began in July 2016 with a first round trouncing of Miesha Tate via rear-naked choke. From there, Nunes went on to defeat every UFC champion the promotion ever had at both 135 and 145 pounds. The still-active Tate, 36, feels she and the rest of the division can now breathe easy with the all-time great out of the picture.

“They’re absolutely right [there’s a new lease on life at Bantamweight],” Tate told media on the 2023 UFC Hall of Fame red carpet (h/t MMA Fighting). “Absolutely. There’s no way any of us were beating her. So, thank god because now the division is wide open and I believe I’m one fight away. I know that probably sounds wild to some people. Like, ‘Wait a minute,’ but if you think about since my return, I had a really dominant finish win and then I had a very close decision loss to a top 5 girl in Ketlen Vieira. So, although I haven’t been super active I still think with a bang of a comeback at 125 against a top-quality opponent, at least my name could be dropped in the bucket. Not saying that I would be picked for sure but I’d like to at least be talked about in being in contention.”

Tate’s title loss to Nunes would be her second to last fight before retiring later that year after a unanimous decision defeat to Raquel Pennington. In July 2021, Tate returned as a mother and former ONE Championship Vice President to defeat the retiring top 15 contender, Marion Reneau, with ground-and-pound strikes in round three.

An experimental fight vs. Lauren Murphy at 125 pounds in July 2022 came after Tate’s aforementioned Vieira loss and she hasn’t fought since. Tate was matched with rising contender, Mayra Bueno Silva, for a date in June 2023, but was forced out with a hand injury. Bueno Silva now faces the woman Tate defeated to become champion in 2016, Holly Holm, in the main event of UFC Vegas 77 this weekend (Sat., July 15, 2023).

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